Last summer was the first time we did a Neighborhood of Raingardens program in one community with a major focus on maintenance. The Sheridan Neighborhood Association in Minneapolis wanted to provide previous participants with guidance on caring for their raingardens. So we offered a “raingarden refresh” program. During a one-and-a-half-hour visit, we checked a participant’s raingarden, offered tips, did some hands-on weeding together, replaced plants or other needed elements, and left some resources for future reference. It was a fantastic way to give residents a chance to focus on what their raingardens needed to thrive.
All in all, despite the warm and dry summer, we had a very successful season for our longest-running program. We worked with 11 Minneapolis neighborhoods and the City of St. Louis Park to make it easier and less expensive for their residents to get a raingarden. Thank you to these partners and to Conservation Corps MN & Iowa (CCM), who provided crews for excavating and mulching the projects. CCM’s work is funded by the Minnesota Clean Water Fund.
In the end, we installed 130 new raingardens that capture an estimated 2.4 million gallons of stormwater annually. The plants also provide habitat for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. So the raingardens — with a total area of 18,500 sq. feet planted with almost 8,000 native plants — not only manage stormwater, they also help us “bee” good neighbors to the tiniest inhabitants in our yards!
We’d also like to shout out to all the residents who took part. We’re all about taking action, and we’re so happy that you did. The way our program works is that we design, excavate and mulch the raingarden. We also order the plants and organize a plant pickup for each neighborhood. But we count on the residents to do their own planting using the designs we created for them. This way they get to know their plants right away. Thank you, residents, for your efforts here!